Why do avoidants stop viewing or liking your Instagram posts or stories or simply look at them but not engage with your content? Is this a sign they’re not interested?
There is a direct link between our attachment style, social media use and it’s effects on how we feel about an ex’s interest in us, and even the chances of them coming back.
Evidence suggests that anxiously attached individuals put so much value on an ex viewing, liking or engaging with our Instagram posts or stories and are more likely to use social media to self-regulate. When ex responds positively it mean they’re still interested and when they stop responding or stop avoid viewing their social media, anxiously attached individuals see this as an ex not interested, and therefore no chance of getting back together.
While this holds some truth, it’s important to remember that an avoidant or secure attachment ex may not view liking or engaging with an ex’s Instagram posts or stories in the same way.
This is a general guide that I developed and provides a useful framework to understand an anxious or avoidant ex, and how to interact with them on social media in a way that’s not triggering – comes across as needy and desperate to an avoidant or distant and rejecting to someone with an anxious or fearful avoidant attachment style.
1) Secure attachment ex – Mostly don’t mind you watching all their stories or commenting on their posts, and are likely to directly reach out with regular “I hope you’re doing well” check-in because individuals with a secure attachment genuinely care about their ex’s well-being even when they don’t want a relationship with them. They’ll mostly be responsive and will reciprocate but only when they feel it’s necessary. They’re not going to watch your stories or like your posts for reciprocal attention.
2) Anxious attachment ex– Mostly feel excited that an ex is watching all their stories or commenting on their posts. They see it as an ex still has feelings and possibly interested in getting back together. Exes with an anxious attachment are the most likely to orbit an ex and also more likely to watch an ex’s stories in the hope that they’ll get reciprocal attention. Because they overthink and project their feelings onto what an ex posts, exes with an anxious attachment are likely to engage in protest behaviour e.g. stop watching an ex’s stories or get upset and block you if they don’t get the validation and reassurance they seek in an ex’s social media posts and stories.
So expect full engagement on social media with an ex with an anxious attachment but also be aware that if you stop watching their stories, they’ll stop watching yours too.
3) Fearful avoidant ex – Mostly unfollow and block you after the break-up, but fearful avoidants can also be flattered that an ex is watching all their stories or commenting on their posts. Most fearful avoidants find an ex still following them or watching their stories confusing and may be suspicious and fearful that an ex who is watching their stories is reading too much into what they’re sharing and/or taking it too personally. Fearful avoidants also have a tendency to orbit an ex if they still have feelings and often watch and like an ex’s stories as a way to get an ex to reach out. But fearful avoidants are the most likely attachment style to unfollow and block an ex then unblock and re-follow an ex.
With fearful avoidants, expect fast or slow build to intense engagement and then a pull back. For example there will be many times when they’ll watch your every story, then completely stop, then start watching them again. This can happen several times over short periods of time.
4) Dismissive avoidant ex– Mostly use watching or reacting to an ex’s stories as a strategic power/control move. They’re more likely to just lurk in the background and only engage as much as they’re comfortable doing. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself wondering why they’re still interested in what you’re doing or what their deal is (if they ghosted you for example). If a dismissive avoidant is just curious but not interested enough to have a social media friendship, they’ll not respond to any attempts to directly communicate. But if they want you to reconnect in some way, they’ll like a photo or two.
Expect social media engagement with a dismissive avoidant ex to be few and far between with long periods of time where there is no engagement at all. However if you frequent their social media, watch or react to their stories to get reciprocal attention, a dismissive avoidant ex will stop watching your social media and may even unfollow or block you.
What it comes down to is that as long as you’re not positing content that looks like you’re desperately trying to get your ex’s attention in a negative way or sell them that you’re changing, share what makes you feel good whether your ex is watching it or not. If you feel triggered or hurt because your ex stopped viewing or liking your posts or stories, or looks at them but does not engage with your content, remind yourself that this does not necessarily reflect your ex’s interest in you or your chances of getting back together. Different attachment styles view liking or engaging with an ex’s Instagram posts or stories differently.